Friday, August 24, 2012

Ħobż biż-Żejt (Bread with tuna, olives, capers ecc)

You'll need :

Tomato Paste
Onions (sliced thinly)
Gbejniet (or goat's cheese)
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Giardiniera (optional)
Salt and Pepper
Method :

This is probably the easiest sandwich snack one can possibly make. Slice the bread in half and spread with tomato paste. Alternatively you can halve a tomato and wipe it on the bread. Layer the ingredients; tuna, olives, capers, onions, gbejniet, mint leaves (use according to taste as mint can have a very pungent taste). Some people prefer to add some giardiniera too (mixed pickled vegetables). Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.

Ideally consumed fresh as stored "Ħobż biż-Żejt" will get soggy in the fridge.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Torta tal-Corned Beef (Corned Beef Pie; Cornish Pie)


Ghagina tat-torti (Pie Pastry)
1 large can corned beef
3 potatoes diced into small cubes
3 cups mixed frozen vegetables
1 cup water
1 onion
1 tbs curry powder
1 egg, beaten
Sesame seeds
Salt and Pepper to taste


Dice a large onion and around 3 medium sized potatoes. Sautee in some olive oil and curry powder until tender. Add frozen mixed vegetables and water and let simmer for around 10-15 minutes. When most of the water has evaporated, add the canned corned beef and salt and pepper to taste. Let mixture cool well.

Grease a 10″ x 10″ pie dish. Divide the dough in two, working one portion at a time. Open the dough with a rolling pin, flouring the suface. Line the bottom of the dish with pastry and let any excess pastry hang from the sides. Fill with ricotta mixture and brush the edges with the beaten egg mixture. Using the other portion of the dough, roll out to desired size and place on top of the pie. Pinch the edges and trim off any excessive pastry. With a fork or a knife, make a few holes on top so that the dough won’t swell up. Using a kitchen brush, brush the beaten egg on top of the pastry and sprinkle with some sesame seeds.

Bake for 40 minutes in a 380 degrees fahrenheit oven until crust is golden brown.


Ghagina tat-torti (Savoury Pie Dough)


500 grams plain flour
200 grams margarine
pinch of salt
Cold water to bind


Mix flour and salt together. Cut up margarine into little chucks and work their way into the flour, until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Alternatively you can do this in a food processor.
Add cold water slowly to bind pastry. Pastry should be soft but not sticky. Roll up into a ball shape, put in a plastic bag and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. Dough can be frozen for a later use, however it needs to come out of the freezer at least 12 hours before using. Do not defrost in microwave.

Drying and storing gbejniet

After making fresh gbejniet it is time to dry/age them and pepper them.

Step 1

Place gbejniet on a ventilated dripping tray. Cover with insect screen (shown below) and put outside in the shade. Try to avoid direct sunlight if possible. Gbejniet can also be aged inside, near an open window or a well ventilated room. If you're making them in winter you could also dry them inside by placing an oscillating fan a couple of feet away from the tray. They should dry in about 2 days. Another trick is to place the fan right in front of the heat radiator so that it will blow warm air on the gbejnient.

Step 2

After about a day or so of drying, fresh cracked black pepper can be sprinkled on top. This helps the pepper to stick better as most of it will wash away when soaked in vinegar.

Step 3

After the gbejniet have dried to your desired consistency, it is time for a 24-hour white vinegar bath! Store in the refrigerator.

Step 4

After 24 hours, remove the gbejniet from the white vinegar. Put them in an air-tight sterilized jar with black pepper, a little bit of white vinegar and a little bit of oil. Store in the refrigerator. Flip the jar a few times over every two days to make sure that all the gbejniet get a coating of vinegar and oil.

Hope you enjoy making them as much as I do! If you have any questions please feel free to ask, you can post a comment here!

Making fresh Gbejniet

Here’s the recipe for Gbejniet using Junket Rennet Tables or Liquid Animal Rennet. I have tried them both myself and obtained excellent results. (Revised 08/20/2013 - foolproof method)

What you'll need :

A non-reactive pot (stainless steel is the best)
1 US gallon 2% Milk (3.78 litres) - 2% coagulates much better than full fat.
2 Junket Rennet Pills or 1 table-spoon liquid rennet
Sea Salt
Gbejniet Molds (Qwieleb)
Dripping Trays
Insect Screen Cover

Step 1
Heat the milk to 98 degrees fahrenheit. Take off the stove as the stove remains hot and your milk will get warmer.

Step 2
In a bowl, crush 2 junket rennet tablets  in around 4 tablespoons of cold water (or pour 1 tbl liquid rennet directly). If using tablets, make sure they are fully dissolved.

Step 3
Pour the rennet into the milk, mix gently, cover pot and let stand for 30 minutes. This will make the milk coagulate.

Step 4
Using a knife, make vertical lines into the curd, making sure not to disturb the curd too much. Cover with lid, wrap the pot in a blanket (this is a very important step) and let the milk coagulate further for another 2.5 hours.

Step 5
Pour out as much of the whey as you can. Scoop the curd mixtures into the cheese molds and place on a dripping tray. Grab a handful of sea salt and sprinkle it on top (if you're concerned about the amount of salt, remember that most of it will drain out with the whey and that salt is needed to preserve the cheeselets.) Cover with insect screen cover.

Step 6
After 6-8 hours, flip the cheeselets on the other side (to obtain the mold imprint on both sides). Sprinkle with sea salt again and let drip for 6 hours. Do not forget to cover with insect screen.

Step 7
This results in fresh gbejniet. They can be stored in a saline solution (1 litre of water with 150 grams of salt) and placed in an air tight container and refrigerated.

Gbejniet can also be aged outside and consumed as “Dried White Gbejniet” or “Dried Peppered gbejniet”. Click here to learn how gbejniet are aged and pickled.